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Diet Bankruptcy?

Diet and gastric bypass surgery – I keep waiting for the analogy of diet and finance to break down, and it just won’t.  Well, I thought, there’s no analog to bankruptcy; how do you wipe away a huge calorie debt by taking one extreme step that will have serious long-term consequences?  And then it hit me– gastric bypass is diet bankruptcy.

When you find yourself so overextended that you just can’t see a way out financially, you declare bankruptcy.  Your first step should be to see a credit counselor, because sometimes there are much less extreme remedies.  Creditors would rather have something than nothing, so you can often play “let’s make a deal” (especially with credit card companies) to skip payments, reduce interest rates, or simply negotiate a lower balance to pay.  It will take longer to get out from under your debt, but you won’t have a bankruptcy on your credit history affecting the next decade of your life.  Sometimes, though, the debt monster is so huge that bankruptcy is your only option.

So let’s equate this to your weight.  If your everyday diet and exercise efforts (or lack thereof) have left you more than 100 pounds over your healthy weight, that’s a huge calorie debt monster.  That much weight is likely to do significant health damage before you can get it off via even a medically-supervised diet plan unless you can afford to do nothing for several months except devote yourself to diet and exercise (the “Biggest Loser” method).  That’s when diet bankruptcy becomes an attractive option.  Just as with your finances, your doctor should counsel some less extreme plans.  You should both agree that you’ve tried enough other methods to know that you’re not going to be successful without big-time intervention.

I have two friends who went through gastric bypass, and they are tiny, happy, and positive that it’s the best thing they ever did.  I have two more friends who lost a lot of weight initially and then saw their weight creep back up.  They are now again fighting a daily weight battle, but they’re fighting it at a lower weight than they were pre-surgery.  (Check the fine print– most gastric bypass “centers” count a success in their statistics if you lose 50% of your excess weight.  I wonder how they’d feel if you paid 50% of your bill?)  I have one friend who is heavier now than before surgery.  With financial bankruptcy, you can file again in the future if you need to, but there are darned few doctors who will perform a second gastric surgery if you went back to double-meat pizzas and Krispy Kremes (and even fewer insurance companies that will pay for it).

Success with both diet and financial bankruptcy depends mostly on two factors.  First, find a professional who will be with you for the long haul. 

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